Wednesday, May 11, 2016

More From Biltmore House and Gardens Fashionable Romance Wedding Gowns in Film Collection

In an earlier post, I told you a little about our trip to Biltmore House and Gardens in mid-March. Currently the Biltmore has an astonishing collection of costumes on display throughout the estate. Fashionable Romance Wedding Gowns in Film is truly a smashing event.

Some of the films featured in this collection were nominated for prestigious film awards. Some were actually winners of the Academy Awards for Best Costuming.

Being the old-fashioned soul and possessing a hopelessly romantic heart, I was totally smitten with this collection of spectacular costumes from romantic films!

In this post, I will continue where I left off in this previous post with some additional wonderful costumes from a number of other great films.  The last part of this post will take us to Biltmore's Antler Hill Village for some history on the Biltmore family marriages, honeymoons and other interesting family ties and connections!

On a previous visit to Biltmore to see the fabulous collection of costumes from the hit television series Downton Abby (Dressing Downton). we were not allowed to take pictures inside the house. We did not expect to be allowed to take pictures of this current collection of costumes. The only cameras any of our party carried with us on this trip were the ones on our cell phones. Visitors were not supposed to use flash photography within the house. Therefore, some of the pictures, especially those taken in the more dimly lit and darker surroundings, are somewhat on the dark side. We did not expect to be able to take pictures of the collection and the only cameras we took with us were our cell phones

This first photograph is this understated and demure wedding dress worn by Gwyneth Paltrow when she played the role of Emma Woodhouse in the movie Emma in 1996.

Wedding Dress Worn by Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma in the Film Emma
The below photo shows better the sweet and demure design of this dress. Isn't it simply lovely? Again, I am in awe of the wonderful settings at Biltmore for the presentation of this collection. The house is perfect, absolutely perfect, for displaying these costumes!
Wedding Dress Worn by Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma in the Film Emma
Another dress worn by Paltrow, as Emma,  for the movie is pictured here:
Dress Worn by Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma Woodhouse in Emma, the Film
I took the following photo of the display introducing the Emma collection. Paltrow is wearing the dress in the photograph. The dress is in Regency fashion, which was popular in the early 1800s. The dresses from the Emma collection speak to my style, soft, comfortable and simple!
Display at the Costume Collection for the Film of  Emma at Biltmore Fashionable Romance Exhibit
This next wedding dress is from the movie Christabel from 1988. During the period in which this movie was set, the style had become more form-fitting to accentuate a woman's body. Plunging necklines were also in vogue!
Wedding Dress Worn by Elizabeth Hurley in  Christabel
I took a photo, however out of focus, of the display at the Christabel film collection. Hurley is wearing the dress in this picture. The costumes in the Christabel collection are the most modern of the film collection at Biltmore..
Display at Biltmore Fashionable Romance Weddings in Film Collection
The Aristocrats, 1999 is a film in which Geraldine Somerville portrayed Lady Emily Lennox. The film is based on a true story about the four Lennox sisters. I have never seen Aristocrats. I must say that after doing a little internet surfing and finding this article from the LA Times, I am inclined to think I would enjoy it. Geraldine Somerville wore the wedding dress pictured below.

The gown is typical of the style that would have been worn by ladies of means during the period from 1740-1750. The beautiful and elaborate embroidered detail on the inset of the dress can be seen in the photo.  
Gown Worn by Geraldine Somerville as Lady Emily Lennox in   The Aristocrats
In Madame Bovary, Hugh Bonneville played the part of Charles Bovary. Frances O'Connor played the role of Emma Bovary. The styles and fabrics of the costumes worn in the film are indicative of the mode of dress that would have been worn during the mid-to-late 1850s. The styles and materials were more delicate and simple. This simple and understated style are evident in the wedding gown worn by Frances O'Connor as Madame Bovary shown here:
Wedding Gown from Madame Bovary in Fashionable Romance Collection
Here is the purple silk suit worn by Frances O'Connor as Emma Bovary.
Costume from Madame Bovary in Fashionable Romance  Collection  at Biltmore House
I think the following gown, worn by actress Billie Piper in the role of Fanny Price, one of Jane Austen's best loved characters is one of my favorites in the collection. The movie in which Piper wore this gown is Mansfield Park, 2007. Note the simple lines and high-waist of the dress.
Wedding Gown from the Film Mansfield Park in the Fashionable Romance Collection at Biltmore
 The understated elegance of the bodice of this gown can better be seen in the photograph below.
Wedding Gown from the Film Mansfield Park in the Fashionable Romance Collection 
The manikin bride looks almost ghostly in the photo. I think I may have taken one too may rides through Disney's "Haunted Mansion," as she looks a lot like the ghost bride at the end of the attraction's ride!

Helena Michell and Pierce Brosnan were the principal actors in a film called The Deceivers, 1988. Set during the period of the 1820s, this gown, embellished with roses, exemplifies a style of decorating dresses with three-dimensional elements popular during the period. 


The Magnificent Ambersons, 2002, was made for A & E and somewhat of a remake of the original from 1942. Costume designer, John Bright, designed the costumes for 2002 film. The part of Isabel Amberson Minafer was portrayed by actress Madeline Stowe. Isabel's wedding took place in the 1880s in the Victorian style of the day. Her wedding dress was a cream colored silk with an hourglass waist and embroidered skirt, much in keeping with the Victorian era.
The next couple of pictures are from the film
Wedding Dress from The Magnificent Ambersons Film
As Isabel during a later time period in the movie, Stowe wore a beautiful beaded evening gown more in keeping with that time setting. What can I say? This dress had me at black and white! In my opinion, this exquisite gown with its lavishly beaded bodice is positively stunning!
Evening Gown from the Film The Magnificent Ambersons on Exhibit at Biltmore House
After finishing our tour of Biltmore House, eating a fabulous meal at  and a visit to Biltmore Gardens & Conservatory, which I wrote about here, having a delicious meal at Biltmore's Stable Cafe, we made our way over to Biltmore's Antler Hill Village & Winery for the Biltmore Legacy- the last leg of the Fashionable Romance collection.

The Biltmore Legacy portion of the Fashionable Romance tour highlights 60 years of weddings in the Vanderbilt family, including the couple with whom the Biltmore House & Gardens history began. George Vanderbilt, the man who envisioned and built the magnificent Biltmore House married Edith Stuyvesant Dresser in Paris, France on June 1, 1898 in a civil ceremony, as was customary. They also had a church ceremony the next day on June 2, 1898. Apparently, without the great fanfare that might have been expected for a wedding involving the Vanderbilt family. You can read about the weddings of George and Edith Vanderbilt at the Biltmore House & Garden's blog site. There were apparently no photographs of the actual ceremonies, but various newspapers gave accounts of the union.

This is one account of the couple's union and their attire for the event. Edith was quoted by a reporter as stating "We mean all our marriage arrangements to be simple and quiet." 
Photo of an Account of  George & Edith Vanderbilt's Marriage
Attached at the bottom of this display was the tiny prayer book that Edith carried at the wedding. This is a picture of the bottom of this display--Edith Dresser Vanderbilt's little prayer book.

Picture of Edith Stuyvesant Dresser's Tiny Prayer Book
The couple enjoyed a four month long honeymoon in parts of Europe. These are some accounts of their honeymoon which were on display.
Account of George & Edith Vanderbilt's Lengthy Honeymoon in Europe
From what I have read about the Vanderbilt wedding and how low key and unassuming Edith seemed to be, it is not hard to imagine how overwhelming it must have been for her when George Vanderbilt brought her to Asheville, North Carolina after their honeymoon. Can you imagine how it must have been to see the servants, grounds keepers, attendants and so forth all lined up all the way up the driveway to welcome the newlyweds? Can you imagine, as well, Edith seeing the palatial structure of the Biltmore House, beyond them in the distance? The Biltmore House, her new 255 room home! I believe that I probably would have fainted, dead away, right then and there.

This is a cropped version of the photograph that was on display showing those people lined up along the way to the:
Biltmore Staff  Lined Up to Greet the  Newlyweds and Welcome the  New Lady of  Biltmoreo House
The couple passed through a huge floral horseshoe shaped arch as they approached their new home. I cropped out various portions of this display and the following shoes the enormous horseshoe.
Picture Showing the Horseshoe Arch the Newlywed Vanderbilts Passed Through on the Way to Biltmore
George and Edith Vanderbilt had a daughter, Cornelia, whose marriage in  April, 1924 to John Cecil was widely publicized. Pictures and details of that the couple's grand wedding can be see at Biltmore's website. Cornelia's beautiful wedding gown and veil were meticulously reproduced by costume designer John Bright. Bright also designed the costumes for the film The Magnificent Ambersons, one of films whose costumes are in the Fashionable Romance Collection exhibited at Biltmore House.

Here is a picture of John Bright's reproduction of Cornelia Vanderbilt Cecil's gorgeous wedding gown and beautiful long veil on display at Antler Hill Village.
Designer John Bright's Reproduction of Cornelia Vanderbilt Cecil's Wedding Gown
For her wedding day, Cornelia Vanderbilt, wore custom made shoes. Apparently,  the shoes, because of comfort and simple elegance, came very much in vogue for brides after Cornelia wore them for her wedding. Similar styles remain popular until this day. This picture shows Cornelia's shoes in a glass case on display at the exhibit!
Cornelia Vanderbilts Wedding Shoes on Display at Biltmore
There is a connection between the Vanderbilt, Cecil, Ryan, Bovier and Kennedy families where weddings are concerned.
Family Tree Illustrating Family Connections for Vanderbilt-Cecil-Ryan-Lee-Kennedy Families
Jacqueline Bouvier'Kennedy's grandmother, Margaret Merrit Lee wore an exquisite rose point lace veil when she married John T. Lee, a prominent New Yorker. In 1953, her granddaughter, Jacqueline Bouvier wore the same veil in 1953 when she wed then Senator John F. Kennedy.

In 1957, Jacqueline Kennedy's cousin Mary Ryan, also the granddaughter of Margaret Merrit Lee , wore the same rose point lace veil when she married William A.V. Cecil. William Cecil was the grandson of  George Vanderbilt. Thus the connection!

The following picture is from Biltmore's blog and is of Jacqueline Bouvier wearing the rose point lace veil when she married the future president of the United States, John F. Kennedy.

Source
This next photo is of Mary Ryan Cecil with William A. V. Cecile on their wedding day. She is wearing the same veil that Jacqueline B. Kennedy wore on her wedding day. It is simply draped upon her head, rather than with the circled garland on the head.
William and Mary Cecil wedding photo
Source
To read about the veil's story and family connection, just go here.

This is the picture I took of the fabulous rose point lace veil, which is still being traditionally worn by some family members today!
Rose Point Lace Veil Worn by Jacqueling Bouvier Kennedy and Mary Ryan Cecil
The day we spent at Biltmore House & Gardens and Biltmore's Antler Hill Village and Winery was so much fun! The amazing collection of costumes and memorabilia will remain on exhibit until July 4, 2016. I hope you have enjoyed my post about the most enjoyable day we spent at Biltmore House & Gardens and Biltmore's Antler Hill Village & Winery!

I have not received any compensation for posting about the Fashionable Romance Wedding Gowns in Film at Biltmore House & Gardens. 

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